4 teams to vie to design arts center

January 09, 1994|By Edward Gunts | Edward Gunts,Staff Writer

World-renowned architects are among the four teams selected to compete for the commission to design a $60 million performing arts center in Baltimore's Mount Royal cultural district.

Gov. William Donald Schaefer and Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke announced Thursday the names of four finalists who will take part in a five-week competition. They were selected from 29 groups vying to design the theater complex for a state-owned tract next to the Meyerhoff Symphony Hall.

The winner will get a chance to negotiate a contract to design a two-theater complex for the former Baltimore Life Insurance Co. site at 901 N. Howard St.

Each finalist will be paid $10,000 for taking part. The finalists are:

* Lett/Smith Architects of Toronto, headed by Peter Smith. Its projects include the Princess of Wales Theater in Toronto; the du Maurier Ltd. Centre for Theatre Aquarius in Hamilton, Ontario, and the Chrysler Theater in Windsor, Ontario.

* Arata Isozaki and Associates of Tokyo and Design Collective Inc. of Baltimore, with Martha Schwartz Inc. of Cambridge, Mass., as the landscape designer. Mr. Isozaki's work includes the Kyoto Symphony Hall in Kyoto, Japan; the Carter Auditorium at the Brooklyn Museum in New York; Milo Arts Tower and Performing Arts complex in Milo, Japan; and the Team Disney office building in Orlando.

* Antoine Predock, an architect from Albuquerque, N.M., and Ayers Saint Gross Inc. of Baltimore. Mr. Predock's projects include the Nelson Fine Arts Center at Arizona State University; the Civic Arts Plaza in Thousand Oaks, Calif., and the American Heritage Center and Art Museum at the University of Wyoming. The same team is also a finalist in the University of Maryland's competition to design an $80 million performing arts center for College Park.

* Rafael Vinoly Architects of New York. This is the only team that does not already have a performing arts center to its credit. But it won a competition to design the $1 billion Tokyo International Forum, which is to have four theaters of different sizes when complete. Mr. Vinoly, who was born in Uruguay, also has completed a wide range of urban projects, from office towers to sports centers.

"They all have done exciting and innovative work, especially in the performing arts," said Shubroto Bose, director of architecture and urban design for the Baltimore Development Corp. He said the finalists were chosen because they are "at the top of their fields" and represent "a good cross-section of design ideas."

The performing arts center is being planned by a partnership formed by the state, city and a group called Friends of the Performing Arts.

Teams have until Feb. 16 to prepare a conceptual design for a two-theater complex, including a 2,800-seat space and a 650-seat hall. A winner will be announced Feb. 25.

The seven-member jury includes Hope Quackenbush, member of Friends of the Performing Arts; Abell Foundation President Robert C. Embry Jr.; Maryland Institute College of Art President Fred Lazarus IV; architects Colden Florance and Mario Schack; state Planning Director Ronald Kreitner. The final member will be named later.

The Schmoke administration also announced the names of five finalists selected to take part in a separate competition to propose ideas for enlivening Rash Field and the west shore of the Inner Harbor.

Those finalists include Martha Schwartz Inc. and Design Collective, with Deborah Sussman as graphic artist; the Schnadelbach Partnership of New York and Crozier Associates of Baltimore, with Charles Perry as sculptor; and SITE Inc. of New York with Anshen + Allen of Baltimore; EDAW of Alexandria, Va., with Grieves, Worrall, Wright & O'Hatnick, and Hargreaves Associates of San Francisco.

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